"If all states implement the Affordable Care Act, 18 million more people will be enrolled in Medicaid by the end of 2016. Even if some states opt out, the program is poised for a huge expansion. But having insurance does not guarantee access to health care. Policymakers need to explore and reduce the barriers Medicaid patients face as millions join an already overburdened system."
"Florida Democrats hoping the fight over Medicaid expansion and the sequester would win them support with those who depend on federal funding won’t find much encouragement in Tuesday’s special election for House District 2. In the first referendum since House Republicans bypassed more than $50 billion in federal aid for health care, Mike Hill, a 55-year-old tea party Republican insurance agent, won 57.9 percent of the vote in a Northwest Florida district that has an economy dominated by hospitals as well as the military -- which is weathering a sequester deal rife with budget cuts forced by congressional Republicans."
"It’s the great moral imperative behind the Affordable Care Act ('Obamacare'): People should not be denied health care because they can’t afford insurance. Health status and insurance are assumed to be connected, and opponents have often been cast as moral midgets, willing to condemn the uninsured to unnecessary illness or death. The trouble is that health status and insurance are only loosely connected. This suggests that Obamacare may result in more spending and health services but few gains in the public’s health."
"Another GOP governor has pledged to go ahead with Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, and once again, industry was standing right there with him... The same thing is happening in Ohio and Missouri. In Idaho, the GOP governor and legislature decided to build an Obamacare exchange thanks to industry pressure."
"During the health care debate, liberals argued that government had a moral duty to enact legislation that expanded health insurance among lower-income individuals. This was rooted in the assumption that obtaining health insurance translates into improved health. But a landmark study published in the New England Journal of Medicine dramatically undermines this assumption and shatters the rationale behind the law’s Medicaid expansion."
"There is no way to spin these results as anything but a rebuke to those who are pushing states to expand Medicaid. The Obama administration has been trying to convince states to throw more than a trillion additional taxpayer dollars at Medicaid by participating in the expansion, when the best-designed research available cannot find any evidence that it improves the physical health of enrollees."
"Cary Pigman, a Republican lawmaker in the state House of Representatives, sees uninsured patients every shift as an emergency room doctor in a rural part of central Florida, where nearly 30 percent of residents lack coverage. With a week remaining in Florida’s legislative session, Dr. Pigman might be expected to be sympathetic to hospitals and other groups urging the Republican-dominated legislature to accept $50 billion in federal money over a decade to extend coverage to 1 million poor Floridians. But that’s not the case."
"Illinois Medicaid Director Julie Hamos is warning that there won't be enough doctors to treat the expected surge next year of new Medicaid patients unless more physicians participate in the health care program for the poor... About 1.2 million uninsured people in Illinois are expected to gain some form of health insurance coverage on Jan. 1 under the landmark overall of health care. About half of those people will be newly eligible for Medicaid."
"For states, it’s the medium to long-term fiscal picture that presents the biggest worry. The long-term politics of federal budgeting make short-term state policy choices rather dicey: Who knows what Congress will do as the cost of government health programs rise and the already bad budget situation grows worse? Cost shifting to states may not be inevitable, but it's quite likely, which means that even if expanding Medicaid is essentially free now, it almost certainly won’t be in the future."
"House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, said today he agrees with the decision by his chamber's select committee on the Affordable Care Act that voted 10-5 _ along party lines _ to reject the expansion of Medicaid in the state under the federal health care law. Here is Weatherford's statement:"